American author Melody Beattie was not wrong when he contended, “The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.”
The dawn of any New Year is not just a time for celebration. It’s a moment for each of us to make new resolutions in life. However, the challenge is in making them work rather than them ending as exercises in futility.
The major challenge in realising the goals set on January 1 is in their righteous character. Occasions like New Year help us to chalk out new pathways for long-term aspirations.
Our resolve gets cemented, once we understand the gap between the enormity of the resolution and the realities.
The most crucial aspect in the art of taking forward New Year resolutions is to avoid falling prey to fantasy. First and foremost, we need to assess our current state and the distance to be travelled to achieve the ideal state.
The resolutions need to be ideal in character. But, more the gap between the two, the more will be the difficulty in sticking to the resolutions.
Studies in psychology reveal that milestones like New Year, birthday, marriage anniversary, breathe a sense of freshness in our mind, which take us away from the past and instill hope for the future.
However, you should refrain from imitating the resolutions of your friends or relatives. As the famous Irish actor, Cyril Cusack says, “If you asked me for my New Year resolution, it would be to find out who I am.”
Before embarking upon your 2017 resolutions, reflect on the progress made by you in relation to the goals set for 2016. It may be a great accomplishment or a small win.
Studies in psychology state that such introspection is critical for enhancing your confidence levels. Moreover, it also helps you to assess how attainable the goals are.
Be cautioned that the goal should never be too nearer to what you have already achieved and not too far from what is your present state. The first one makes you complacent, while the latter makes you diffident.
Remember to celebrate the extent of progress made during the year gone by, howsoever small it may be. This would nourish you psychologically and motivate you to go the extra mile in the coming year.
Such a positive mindset is important as the New Year cannot begin on a pessimistic note. It can play spoilsport through the entire year ahead.
Also remember to link the resolution to its relevance in your life. Ponder on the possible impact if the resolution really works. The realisation can trigger a change in your behaviour.
But, don’t ruminate on the past failures. It would dissuade you from your resolution. Cynical people have a habit of recollecting only the bad things.
Successful people reminisce the best moments of life. This really distinguishes between one who fails and one who succeeds.
The goals should never be too broad-based. A few days after the resolution is made, set out interim goals. Every success motivates you to move forward.
Abstract ideals are difficult to be accomplished. For instance, if you resolve to work hard, you will never know how to go about it. Operationally define what exactly you mean by working hard. The goals should always be tangible.
Why do many of us face problems in keeping our New Year resolutions? The author of the book ‘18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, And Get The Right Things Done’, Peter Bregman offers us some insights.
We don’t follow up on the New Year resolutions for many reasons. Normally, New Year resolutions are big ideas. Anything that’s really big is going to take lots of steps over a long period of time, and it’s very hard to sustain that unless you develop a system that’s specifically geared towards taking small, everyday steps towards the big thing you wish to accomplish.
The goal is often daunting. We are scared of trying to succeed. And so we would rather not start at all. You are headed for doom, if you hesitate to take the first step. Come out of the fear of failure. There is no success without a failure. Of course, one who never tries would never fail.
You all are aware that Sachin Tendulkar was clean bowled many a time. But, I have never been, which gives an outward feeling that I am a better batsman than the Master Blaster.
If I conclude so, then I am being foolhardy. By the way, it’s a fact because having never played cricket, the question of being out clean bowled in any match does not even arise.
Do not fear of failure. Instead, imagine the failure. Imagine the success. Imagine the contrast between the two. Research reveals that the success rate is high while the failure rate is low if you follow this simple exercise.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Let every New Year find you a better person”.
But, as the great Indian poet Kalidasa said, “Yesterday is a dream. Tomorrow is a hope. If you work hard today, every yesterday is a dream of happiness and every tomorrow is a vision of hope”.